President Obama expressed support for changes approved by Congress that aim to curb sexual assaults in the military, and he ordered the Pentagon to deliver a full report on its efforts at the end of next year.

But Obama stopped short of endorsing broader reforms sought by some female members of Congress that would remove commanders from determining whether to pursue charges in rape and sexual assault cases and hand the decision to an independent military prosecutor.

The president said in a statement that if he does not see progress by next December "then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks and protect our brave service members who stand guard for us every day at home and around the world."